clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fightweets: Should Georges St-Pierre return, and if so, who should he fight?

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC returns to Montreal this weekend, so it only make sense that Canada's greatest fighter is back in the news.

Will Georges St-Pierre return or not? It's been a year and a half since we last saw him in the Octagon, and he's not getting any younger. But while GSP was his usual coy self when asked about his MMA future by both fans and media on Friday, his former manager, Stephane Patry, insists he'll return for the right fight.

So we'll ponder a potential GSP return, a host of UFC 186-related stuff, and Ben Askren's interesting fight with Luis Santos in the latest edition of Fightweets.

Return of GSP?

@MadeinCanada_: Who would you want to see him fight?

Great question. I think it's apparent by now that we're not likely to see GSP go on another long run. He turns 34 in a few weeks and he's had surgery on both knees. No matter how great a fighter is in his prime, and we're talking about a guy who belongs on MMA's Mt. Rushmore here, this is a fast-moving sport and you can't simply assume you'll be getting the same fighter after his length of inactivity.

But Patry hit the nail on the head when he said GSP simply can't walk away and let the controversy surrounding the Johny Hendricks fight be the final chapter of his career. It just not how he's wired. The man cares obsessively about his legacy.

St-Pierre could fight pretty much anyone in his return and it would be a huge event. He'd have no lack of suitors, either, because fighting St-Pierre is a guaranteed big payday and spotlight.

It makes sense for GSP to hold out for a special fight. But who fits the bill? Anderson Silva seemed like an obvious choice, given how long a superfight between the two was discussed. That seemed to go out the window in the wake of Silva's drug test failure. Beyond that, the cupboard seems a little bare. He's already trounced Nick Diaz, who also failed a drug test. A Hendricks rematch seems to make sense, given Hendricks has made it clear he feels he won their UFC 167 fight. But does former welterweight champion Hendricks value a GSP rematch over a potential title shot?

Bottom line is, with a Silva fight seemingly off the table, there doesn't seem to be a "must-make" fight for St-Pierre, which means we could be speculating on his return for some time to come.

What if Rampage loses?

@Jasonv45: What happens to Rampage if he looses? Gets cut because too much of a headache with his legal situation?

Nah. The UFC didn't put all this time and effort into prying a fighter who can draw television ratings away from Bellator just to hand him right back after a single loss. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, for all his quirks, moved the ratings needle for Bellator, which is the prime reason Viacom invests in the sport. It's not a coincidence that the steady stream of fighters with name value who had been cut by the UFC over the past few years pretty much came to a dead halt right around the time the ratings came in for Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar last November. There are plenty of reasons why Jackson wouldn't get cut by the UFC if he loses, few of which are in any way related to whether or not he can still fight.

Is Michael Bisping still a contender?

@MikeCerulo: Is Bisping even top 10 anymore?

Yes, but 1. barely and 2. he needs to defeat C.B. Dollaway to stay there. Bisping is currently ranked No. 10 in the official UFC middleweight rankings (Dollaway is 11), and frankly, that sounds about right to me. Bisping's been locked in a pattern of beating the guys ranked below him and losing to those above him for ... well, actually, that's pretty much been the story of his career. The fact Bisping's never backed away from a fight is admirable. The fact he retains a fan following ensures he'll remain employed and well-paid (for reasons quite similar to the "Rampage" question above). As to whether he can make another run? The odds are against him, considering the pack of killers stalking 185. He needs a solid win in Montreal just to stay on the outer edge of the picture.

Tim Kennedy wants Lyoto Machida

@JTTreichel: Am I alone in thinking it's very weak of Kennedy (known grappler) to call out Machida after seeing him out grappled so bad?

Yeah, calling out a fighter who just suffered the worst beating of his career days after it happened doesn't seem like the most courageous move one can make. But if you get past the timing, this is actually a fight which makes some sense. Lyoto Machida's still a recognizable name to casual fans, despite the beating he took. Kennedy represents a solid chance for him to rehab his image after taking such a tumble against Luke Rockhold. Kennedy, meanwhile, has by and large been impressive in the Octagon, but just hasn't quite gotten over the hump. A high-profile opponent like Machida, a fight which was expected to go down a couple years ago, could be what he needs. So maybe the timing of the callout wasn't great, but it still might be the right fight to make.

No more flyweights?

@Cubbiezfan: Do you think the 125lb division could be in danger of getting folded, like the 155lb division did in early 2000s?

Not a chance. Back when the UFC more or less dropped the 155-pound division, they had Yves Edwards under contract, and they had ... well, Yves Edwards. Most of the rest of the top-tier talent was over in Japan. In the case of the current flyweight division, you've actually got a pretty deep class, and more often than not, the fights are exciting. It just so happens that the weight class' first champ, Demetrious Johnson, is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, but also has a barely concealed disdain for the promotional end of the business. Somewhere along the line, a hot rivalry will develop at flyweight, or a charismatic star will break through, and the days in which the division struggled to gain traction under DJ will be a thing of the past. Also worth keeping in mind is that the UFC continues to expand into Latin America and Asia, regions which have dominated the lightest boxing weight classes for eons. Who knows? Maybe a decade down the road, the flyweight division will be the same.

Daly dose of Irish fighters

@The_Irishkieran: Do you think Aisling Daly will get a look in at a title shot if she puts on a great performance against Markos?

Easy there, me lad. Let's keep in mind that Daly's fight with Randa Markos on Saturday will be her first against anyone ranked in the top 15 at strawweight. And she missed weight in her UFC debut in December before submitting Alex Chambers at catchweight. So Daly's going to have to keep making weight and string together a couple solid wins before she's considered a real title contender. But that's not to say she can't get there. Daly's obviously got an Irish fan following, so she's marketable. A victory over Markos would be a solid step in the right direction.

JDS' legacy

@ElCujorino: Do you feel Cain's dominant wins over JDS lessened JDS's legacy as an all-time great HW?

Not at all. Junior dos Santos has had a magnificent career. It just so happens that he has shared his prime in the same division with either the greatest heavyweight of all-time in Cain Velasquez, or one of the two greatest of all-time along with Fedor Emelianenko, depending on your point of view. Velasquez has basically been unstoppable when healthy in his career. Dos Santos was good enough to hand him his only loss. And JDS has taken out a murderer's row of other fighters in the hardest-hitting division, as well, and never lost to a UFC fighter besides Cain. He's also proven to boast an otherworldly level of toughness, to a degree it unfortunately might catch up to him later in life. The fact Velasquez is a step better doesn't detract from what JDS has achieved.

Askren-Santos fallout

@DR_Kwame: Does the Santos fight lower Ben Askren's stock?

Sort of. On one hand, it's worth remembering that Askren really, really wanted to go to the UFC when his Bellator contract expired, and the UFC really, really didn't want him. It's not like Askren didn't want to compete against the best, so it's not fair to claim he's running from top opponents.

But still, when you talk as much smack as Askren does, and then you put in a terrible performance like the one he did against a journeyman like Luis Santos on Friday at One 26, then you can't expect not to get flack in return. That's the risk you take when you decide to take nonstop potshots at the rest of your division and at other promotions: It raises your visibility, but it does so at a potential cost.

Got a question for a future edition of Fightweets? Go to my Twitter page and leave me a tweet.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting